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Today, I spent time on three different units.  Woke up at 6:00 a.m., took the loooong drive to Hamilton for 8:30 a.m. call on not one but TWO second unit shoots (Director Ron Murphy on those owing barn scenes from episode #106, and Director Bruce McDonald on those final few farm house scenes for episode #108). It was uncomfortably cold when I arrived but, after an hour or so, the weather warmed up.  Then it rained, and it got cold again.  I took the looooong drive back to Etobicoke and arrived in time for main unit lunch, then spent the rest of the late afternoon and evening on set, first watching Director T.W. Peacocke shoot scenes for episode #108, then watching Director John Stead shoot outstanding (in both senses of the word) scenes for episode #105.  What a day!  And the high point was a double dose of actress Jodelle Ferland who is, quite frankly, perfection.

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A little something from the Art Department and Transport to help set the mood. Anyone remember Damnation Alley?

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Director Bruce McDonald is a rock star!

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Dressing warmly – and peacefully – for the weather.

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The rarely seen sled cam.

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I tried to shoo this homeless man off set – until I realized he was VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson.

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Moving video village.  That tent came in handy today.

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Second unit for episode #108 was shooting in the cabin (background) while second unit for #106 was shooting in the barn (foreground).

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A couple of Lemke’s: Anthony and Tanya (no relation).  Note: Anthony’s injuries sustained during one of our trademark heated “script discussions”.

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Directors Bruce McDonald and Ron Murphy exchange pleasantries – before the rivalry begins.  Ron fires the first salvo by stealing their camera.

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Ron directs actress Jodelle Ferland (FIVE) on shuttle spotting.

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Watch your step back to crew park!

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Like I said, those tents sure came in handy.

Tomorrow, another visual piece of the android puzzle.  What’ll it be, belt or hair?

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Last up tonight was the extra scene I wrote for episode #107.  Whenever I write one of these, it invariably ends up being an Android scene because the character is so damn fun to write for – because Zoie Palmer is so damn good at playing her. This one was a particularly tricky corridor encounter and Zoie herself confided that, while she doesn’t usually get nervous before a scene, this one was a bit of an exception.  Not that it showed.  She NAILED it.  The crew had a hell of a time keeping it together during the four takes – but completely lost it, along with the equally terrific Marc Ben-David, during the rehearsal.  I’ve spent the past two hours walking around the apartment, shouting “TWOOOO DOZEN!” at the top of my lungs.  Mark it!  Episode #107, Scene 27A, Int. Ship – Corridor H: ONE and the Android.  I guarantee it’ll be making the youtube rounds after it airs.

Tonight, there is no bigger Zoie Palmer fan than me.  With the possible exception of Akemi who has watched the first six cuts of Dark Matter‘s first season and has completely fallen in love with her character.

Speaking of our dear Android, how’s this little sneak peek at what we have in the works:

1 From one favorite gal to another…

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She rules Post Production with an iron fist – respected, admired and, in some cases, feared.  She makes damn sure the episodes are locked, the deliveries made, and the trains run on time.  Cross her at your peril!  She is Rachel Sutherland, Dark Matter Post Production Producer!  And she is a force to be reckoned with!

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And positively delightful company.  I always get to editing early just so that we can chat.  She’s one of those people who you can talk to for days on end.

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AND she’s a fellow foodie who, on occasion, will surprise me with treats.  Cookies! Chocolate!   Two extra days of editing!

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This weekend, we’re hitting Buca Restaurant on King.  Taleggio cheese, duck yolk, and fresh white truffle pizzas beware.  We’re taking no prisoners!

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“Girls who like Cinderella have nightmare marriage.  Statistics show.  It’s data!”

– Akemi today, on our walk back home from lunch.

I guess it makes sense.

Today also saw us visit the post office so that Akemi could sense her dad a chocolate shipment.  Apparently, his stock is running low.

Of course no overseas shipment would be complete without the appropriate cartoon commentary that the post office employee must take great pains to avoid covering with the appropriate stamps.

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“Hey, it’s a french bulldog!”I said.

“It’s not a french bulldog,”Akemi informed me, clearly disappointed.  “It’s a rabbit.”

Upon closer scrutiny, yes, of course.  A rabbit.

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I couldn’t help but take a picture of this.  It would seem certain customers are obsessive ringers.

Hey, spoke to the gang at SyFy this week and the plan is to target April for the big Dark Matter roll-out.  So, in a couple of weeks, you’ll finally get a first look at all OF the Dark Matter concept art, designs, set and cast pics I’ve been sitting on for the past couple of months.  As for that awesome guest casting announcement, I urged them make it official this week.

But who knows?

Sunny day today!  Got the dogs out and even worked on a  new Android scene with Zoie Palmer.  Great fun.  That’s why we call her The Wizardress.  Much to her surprise as you can sense from the following text exchange:

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 4.57.43 PM

 Mailbag!

Spacelog writes: “What can you tell us about that planned Stargate Extinction comic book that never was.”

Answer: Alas, not much.  Last year, I was contacted by a publisher about the possibility of writing some stories for a planned Stargate comic book series.  I loved the idea – but my creative plate was full with the various projects I had in development.  HOWEVER, I did tell them that I’d be very interested if I could translate Stargate: Extinction, that unproduced Stargate: Atlantis movie script, into a four-part comic book one-off.  They loved the idea and approached MGM about the idea.  And that was the last I heard of it.  Maybe they felt it would get the way of the planned reboot?  Too bad.  I think it would have been great fun for long-standing fans of the series.

Debra writes: “Any idea yet on when the series will be shown?”

Answer: Dark Matter will premiere this summer.  And maybe sooner than you think!  Official announcement still to come.

dasndanger writes: “What (if any) is the relationship between the world in Dark Matter, and our earth?”

Answer: Dark Matter is set in a distance future in which multi-corps have gone out and colonized other worlds in order to exploit their planetary resources.  These multi-planetaries are the big interstellar power players while the G.A. (Galactic Authority) ensures that law and order is maintained.  A smattering of independent worlds exist as well, former colonies and powerful family-run republics.  Earth is Homeworld Alpha.

Ponytail writes: “Have any of your visits to Tokyo (Robot Restaurant) influenced some of your writing/vision/color in Dark Matter?”

Answer: There’s a definite anime influence running through Dark Matter.  Some quite obvious; some less so.

Scott writes: “Will there be any epic space battles, with lasers and missiles and stuff?”

Answer: Yep.  Epic space battles.  Missiles, yes.  Lasers, not so much.

JustLookAtTheFlowers writes: “1. Will the episodes be serialized or stand-alone type episodes?”

Answer: The show will be heavily serialized.  Stuff happens EVERY EPISODE.  Twists, turns, ongoing character arcs.  Perfect for binge-watching.  Or viewing the night it airs to avoid potential office and online spoilers!

“2. When can we expect Syfy to start promoting this show with an updated website, interviews, trailers?!”

Answer: Yes.  April’s the month!

ivonbartokfans writes: “1. Is Zoie’s cat still around?”

1. Yep, Zoie’s cat, Cloverblob, is most definitely around.  As I mentioned in a previous blog post, my date with her did not exactly go as planned.  I sent Zoie the following text not long afterwards:

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 4.54.03 PM

And we had the following exchange:

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 4.55.56 PM

“2. How many cat t-shirts does everyone own? Who has the record?”

Answer: No idea.  But I’ve seen a varied bunch!

“3. Is Robert Cooper a possibility to direct an episode?”

Answer: Nope, but he did write one – the episode we’re presently shooting now, #107.

“4. Are you and Ivon doing March Madness this year?”

Answer: It’ll be tough since we’ll be on set – but we’ll definitely try to catch a few games.  Go Cyclones!

BoltBait writes: “I see that Terry Pratchett passed away today. I’ve never read any of his book but am inspired to. Where should I start?”

Answer: I started with Guards! Guards!  But the entire Discworld series is great.

PBMom writes: “And I too want to know if Jelly had her butt in the water bowl for any particular reasons?”

Answer: Because it was comfy?

JT writes: “Was wondering if you could write about how you select the directors for each episode, what they bring to it, what you’re looking for from them etc.”

Answer: We’ve selected directors based on our past experience with them (Paolo, Ron, John, and Lee through their past work with Jay and Vanessa), (Amanda, Bruce, Martin, John, and Andy through their past work with me), and whole-hearted recommendations (T.J. and T.W.).

mylhibug writes: “I’m rewatching all the SGU episodes and am reminded that I love the music from the show. My questions are as follows: Who picked the music for that show? Will Dark Matter have a similar feel when it comes to music? Is there a SGU soundtrack out there that can be purchased?”

Answer: The late great Joel Goldsmith was our music composer through all three Stargate shows.  Dark Matter will have a different feel when it comes to its music.  As far as I know, an SGU soundtrack was never released.

Tam Dixon writes: “How many seasons does the series bible outline?”

Answer: The series bible is in my head.  And it covers the entire journey of the ship’s crew.  Ideally, five season’s worth.

“How do you make chili oil and how do you eat it?”

Answer: Not sure but my guess is you drop a few chilis in some oil along with the appropriate herbs and let it all sit for a week so as to allow the flavours to infuse.

“Is the new guy David Hewlett?”

Answer: Wouldn’t that be awesome?!

anas bensidi writes: “Hi Mr Mallozzi, I just wanted to know if dark matter will be more like a guardians of the galaxy meets battlestar galactica thing with a more serialized tone to it or is it gonna be fun and light all the way as was SG1 for example or any show with the adventure of the week thing?”

Answer: Hmmmm.  Guardians of the Galaxy meets BSG sounds like fun!  Dark Matter will definitely be more serialized that SG-1 – but it will maintain a sense of humor.

Randomness writes: “Will we see any heart warming or memorable bonding moments between certain members of the ship’s crew this season?”

Answer: Yes.  Lots of nice bonding moments.  Also lots of nice antagonistic moments as well.

“Offworld, on a space station anywhere really, will we see moments where a crew member is interacting with someone who isn’t a member of the crew on their own in any significant capacity?”

Answer: Yep, plenty of those moments as well as we explore the individual backstories.

“Can we expect disagreements between the crew as to what direction a mission should take, or how a important decision should go?”

Answer: The crew aint one big happy family to start.  There WILL be some heated disagreements.

“When the crew aren’t doing anything important, we will see what they like doing in their downtime, like hobbies, or just refinement of skills, things like that?”

Answer: Yes, we’ll explore what they do on the ship on their off-time.  Also what they do for a little R&R when they hit the local space stations.

“Has to be asked, in terms of fight scenes, who do you think gets the most action?”

Answer: They all see action but, if I had to pick the crew’s top fighters, I’d definitely go with the ladies.

“Do you believe time travel stories have a place on Dark Matter?”

Answer: Sure, eventually.

“Which member of the crew would you say is the most diplomatic in a crisis situation?”

Answer: Definitely Two and Six.  They walk a fine line between the rest of our more opinionated crew members.

shaneac1 writes: “well Joe my question is has a trailer been put together to be viewed by the syfy channel and if so what was there reaction.”

Answer: Reaction to the prod cuts of episodes #101 and #102 has been overwhelmingly positive.  SyFy is working on the first trailers as I write this.

dasndanger writes: “Are any of the episodes completely done, and if so, have you watched them through, and if so, what do you think?”

Answer: We have a few locked cuts, but are still months away from finished episodes.  Music, color timing, and VFX take time.  I absolutely love everything I’ve seen – and am really looking forward to the fan response.  It’s gonna be huge!

Scott writes: “Will Dark Matter have an opening theme song and intro for each episode, similar to SG-1 and Atlantis, or will it be like SGU and many of the newer shows these days, with just a 5-second title clip and no music (hopefully not)?”

Answer: The latter.  Alas, most productions are moving away from those big opening theme songs in favor of shorter intros (that allow for more story screen time).

no1zoieplamerfan writes: “Any idea when we’ll finally get to see an image of the lovely Zoie Palmer the way she’ll appear as the Android?”

Answer: I expect we’ll start seeing those cast pics sometime in April.

Sparrow_hawk writes: “I’ll add my plaintive voice to Sylvia’s” Dark Matter swag would be really nice – will there be some available and when?”

Answer: Executive Producer Jay Firestone has already talked to me about the possibility of Dark Matter swag, from posters and t-shirts to exclusive models of ships and weaponry.  Stay tuned!

livingforcreativity writes: “When production wraps on Season 1, will you move back to Vancouver for the summer?”

Answer: Most definitely.  Akemi and I (and the dogs) head back to Vancouver in June.  I’ll hopefully be spinning stories for season 2 though July in August and then back here for production on Dark Matter‘s second season in winter of 2015.

“Are any of the other shows you were pitching still in development (with a real possibility of actually getting a ‘go’ order?)”

Answer: Yes.  I still keep hearing rumblings about A.K.A.

Lowriders95s10 writes: “Any idea when you will be releasing episode titles?”

Answer: I’ve been releasing episode titles all along: #101, #102, #103, #1o4, #105, #106, #107, #108, #109, #110, #111, #112, and #113!

bambamfans writes: “Good to hear Ron’s cutting the directorial mustard. I wish I could see dailies. They sound like fun. Do you have a viewing room or just watch on a laptop or TV?”

Answer: I watch the dailies on my laptop whenever I can pop back into my office between meetings.

Ponytail writes: “The correct spelling of whisky is W-H-I-S-K-E-Y! Whiskey! Whiskey, whiskey, whiskey!! The other way makes me think of cat hairs, whiskers!”

Answer: Depends what you’re drinking: http://www.thekitchn.com/whiskey-vs-whisky-whats-the-di-100476

Sylvia writes: “Please, what was name of realllllly smooth whiskey from Washington?”

Answer: Dry Fly Washington Wheat Whiskey: http://www.dryflydistilling.com/whiskey/

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Today marked the conclusion of our first full week of production on Dark Matter – or, as the call sheet will tell you: “Day 6 of 89″!  Today saw some sword slinging, cosmic cat and mouse, big reveals, and an FTL jump.  In other words, just another day at the office.

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The ladies can’t stop talking about actor Roger Cross’s smile – but I suggested they be wary of his warm embrace!  I informed Akemi that he would be dropping by to watch football this weekend.  “Who’s Roger?”she asked.  “The guy who almost broke my back,”I replied – which elicited a laugh.  A laugh!  from my own girlfriend!

The make-up department makes actor Alex Mallari Jr.'s tattoos disappear.

The make-up department makes actor Alex Mallari Jr.’s tattoos magically disappear.  In about an hour.

Our screen grab of the day  –

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 8.43.46 AM

Oh, it may look like some random shot – but it’s key.  Which you’d know if you read the comic book.

Our socks of the day, compliments of Natalie Cooper.  Yesterday was purple with unicorns.  Today…

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It’s baby blue gnomes.  According to Natalie, her collection is big enough to last us through this first season.

And finally, Alex Mallari Jr. regales us with yet one more Dark Matter Dance of the Day:

One musical episode coming up!  #FOURCLAN

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Director T.J. Scott in action.

Director T.J. Scott in action.

Another awesome – and exhausting – day on set.  We were in the ship’s underbelly, the corridors, and personal quarters as our crew dealt with the aftermath of some surprising events and shocking revelations.  Questions, questions and answers – which only beget more questions!

The secret to director T.J. Scott's success: Red Bull and coffee.

The secret to director T.J. Scott’s success: Red Bull and coffee.

Actor Alex Mallari Jr., Dark Matter’s FOUR, is back with a brand new instalment of the Dance of the Day.  Check out his Running Man, Sword and Gun Edition…

Dance moves aside, this guy is putting me to shame with his ridiculous exercise and diet regimen, waking up at 3:30 a.m. so that he can squeeze in a workout (try 30 minutes of air squats!).  And then, this afternoon, I received the following pic from fellow training enthusiast Vanessa Piazza, giving me a heads up on what they do on their lunch break:

IMG_3417And what, pray tell, was I doing on MY lunch break while they were planking? Jogging?  Rowing?  Hitting the elliptical?  No, I was actually hitting this -

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The Burger’s Priest bacon double cheeseburger fully loaded with HP (High Priest) sauce and fried jalapeños, fries, a vanilla-chocolate (aka The Riggs and Murtaugh, Lethal Weapon fans), and a couple of home made chocolate chip cookies.  I’d been hearing a lot about this place – as recently as this afternoon from assistant production manager Robbie David who went on in such delicious detail that I finally said “Screw the catering!” and arranged a road trip to the nearest Burger’s Priest just a five minute drive from production offices.  The verdict?  Probably the best burger I’ve had in recent memory.

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The gang prepares to dig in.  Lawren, who had yet to receive his order, couldn’t wait.  Apparently, even the napkins are delicious!

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We returned to the offices to discover a wine and cheese party in progress, a going-away get-together for the fabulous Lost Girl accounting team.  They will be missed!  As will my appetite after I followed up lunch with some triple cream brie.

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At one point, resident media guru Natalie Cooper sprawled out on the couch and I made an executive decision (I am an Executive Producer after all) to steal her boots and throw them in the snow.  Well, we succeeded in removing her boot – only to discover THIS!  I’m not sure what shocked me more: the sight of those purple unicorn socks, or the fact that I was secretly wearing a matching pair.

Hey, speaking of “wearing”, do you know what today is?  Yeah, neither did I. Apparently, it’s Cat t-shirt (aka Pussy t-shirt) Thursday.  Silly me.  I thought it was Octopus Cufflinks Thursday and made a complete fool of myself.  But others came prepared:

Jozie

Jozie

Toni

Toni

Kelly

Kelly

Alyssa

Alyssa

Rachelle

Rachelle

Jeff

Jeff

Them’s some mighty awesome t-shirts.  I’m already ordering my own cat t-shirt for next week!

Finally, I leave you with today’s screen grab of the day:

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 10.26.17 PM

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A rare photo of director T.J. Scott smiling for camera!

Director T.J. Scott, all smiles

Yes, Zoie Palmer kicked ass today.  For about eleven hours – punching, blocking, shoving, kicking, hurling, staring down, and choking out multiple opponents.  And that was just in the lineup to get lunch!  The extended action sequence we shot was intense, and Zoie looked like she’d been beating up guys all of her life (food for thought the next time I consider giving her a line reading).  Actors Roger Cross, Marc Bendavid, Anthony Lemke, and Alex Mallari Jr. proved equally skilled – at getting their butts kicked.

T.J. at the helm

T.J. at the helm

A special thanks to stunt coordinator John Stead who did a phenomenal job choreographing the fight and stunts, his awesome team, and director T.J. Scott who captured all the action.  They get to do it all over again next week.  Twice!

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I know, I know.  Many of you are asking for pics of Zoie – and I do plan to post some…eventually.  But given her unique look or the show, I’m going to have to wait until the official reveal – hopefully sometime sooner than later.

Also, sadly, no “dance of the day” for this blog entry as actor Alex Mallari Jr. (FOUR), was too busy…shooting a t.v. show.  But I’m sure he’ll make it up to us by offering up something REALLY special tomorrow.  Failing that, I wonder if we can convince Anthony Lemke to fill in?

Today’s screen grab of the day…

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 9.32.37 PMCuriouser and curiouser.

After dinner tonight, Akemi pointed out that Valentine’s Day was fast-approaching and wondered whether the show would be doing a chocolate exchange similar to the Dark Matter cookie exchange we did in December.  When I told her it was unlikely, she seemed genuinely disappointed.  Maybe we need to organize something amongst us our little blog community.

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Today, we shot two of the most important scenes of this first season (if not the entire series), and every member of our cast – Marc Bendavid, Melissa O’Neil, Anthony Lemke, Alex Mallari Jr., Jodelle Ferland, Roger Cross, and Zoie Palmer – delivered BIGTIME.  Sitting at the monitors, watching them in their first scene together, I found myself magically cross over from professional observer to mesmerized viewer as their onscreen characters took on a life of their own.  The lines separating fact and fiction, fantasy and reality had blurred and I’d been transported.  And the first thought that entered my head was: “I’m going to love watching this show!”

This cast is AWESOME!

A couple of behind-the-scenes snippets:

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The gang (Alex Mallari Jr., Anthony Lemke, Roger Cross, and Trevor Finn) show craft server Cathy some love.

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The exterior of the ship’s underbelly where secrets reside.  Oh, and the cast because that’s where they hang out between set-ups.

Our Dark Matter screen grab of the day (from yesterday’s dailies):

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 8.59.23 PM

Mysterious, no?

And, of course, on the heels of last blog entry’s Carlton Dance comes a little MJ c/o Alex Mallari Jr. (aka. FOUR).  Go say hi to him on twitter: https://twitter.com/AlexMallariJr #FOURCLAN #DARKMATTER

And while you’re in the twitter neighborhood, why not drop in on the entire crew:

ONE (Marc Bendavid): Apparently, not on twitter. Yet.

TWO (Melissa O’Neil): https://twitter.com/Mel13Oneil

THREE (Anthony Lemke): https://twitter.com/ranthonylemke

FOUR (Alex Mallari Jr.): https://twitter.com/AlexMallariJr

FIVE (Jodelle Ferland): https://twitter.com/jodellemicah

SIX (Roger Cross): https://twitter.com/therogercross

THE ANDROID (Zoie Palmer): https://twitter.com/ZoiePalmer

This year is going to be A LOT of fun!

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